My parents' 50th is this summer. Is it bad to have a surprise party for them and should we have it on their actual anniversary?
My sister and I had a "surprise" anniversary for my parents 13 years ago. It was a litte tough since my parents and I (and husband and son) are "backyard neighbors" and the party was in my backyard! We don't interfer with each other by always visiting each others homes every day, etc. so that part wasn't a problem at all.
My father was a quiet man and a little "anti-social" and we were afraid that if it was a complete surprise for him, he would just go into his house and not come out.
So, this is what we did. My husband told my dad what my sister and I were planning so that when the day came, he wouldn't be upset (my husband did this several months ahead of time to get him used to the idea). Then he told my dad that we didn't know how to get them to leave for several hours (they were home-bodies) while we set up the yard for the party. He asked my dad to take my mom on a car ride and to make sure they came back around the time that most of the guests would have arrived. It worked! My mom actually thought that my husband and I were having a party of our own when they came home that day - that how much privacy we have for each other. Then my mom's thoughts went directly to my dad and was so concerned about him being upset that she was getting upset herself. My husband quickly told her that my dad knew about the party. Boy, did that ever surprise her!
Everyone enjoyed themselves, including my home-body, loner dad. It was great for them to see old friends that they hadn't seen in a long time as well as current friends and family.
AS FOR THE DATE: We scheduled the party for several weeks after their actual anniversary. This seemed to work well and made my mom even more surprised since it was well after she may have thought a party might have been planned.
We borrowed several large canopies, tables and chairs from the church, purchasd 5-6 steam trays of food from a caterer (that we picked up ourselves to save money) and the cake came from Sam's Warehouse. We used canned sodas and bottled water from Sam's and used ice chests filled with ice for self-serve beverages. (We had a dry party and no one complained.) All the parking was on my street so my parents didn't see any extra cars near them.
Our gift to them was their life history. I was able to get into their house and get their old photo albums. Then my sister and I went thru our own ablums. We put the photos with captions together and had them put onto video with music. It started with their baby pictures and teens years (separately), then them together, then my sister, myself, all of us together, their house being built, first grandchild and then second grandchild ending with a current photo of them together. We also had photos of their various camping trips and special family event photos included. (Now this type of thing can be done on DVD on your own computer!) We had a vhs player and TV on our deck and ran the video for the guests to see.
This is my first time EVER commenting on anything on the internet so please forgive my excessive reply. But, I think you can see how important this was for me. My dad passed away less than 2 years after the party so we were so happy that he was able to live to their 50th anniversary. (My mother never thought he would see their 50th anniversay because of his health issues.)
All my best and good luck with your planning.
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